The Daily Item
SUNBURY — Called by our heavenly Father to relinquish his yoke of Christian service after a life lived well and fully, Dean Irvin Rebuck, 81, formerly of RD Sunbury, Rockefeller Township, and lately a resident of Nottingham Village, Northumberland, passed away Thursday, Feb. 6, 2014, at Nottingham, concluding an inspiring and courageous battle with cancer.
Dean was born in Washington Township, just outside of Rebuck, on Oct. 18, 1932, the son of the late Ella A. (Fetter) and Irvin L. Rebuck. Dean spent his formative years growing up and learning both the hard work and satisfaction of being part of his family’s farm and greenhouse operations.
On Oct. 1, 1955, he married the love of his life, Joan L. (Seachrist) Rebuck, who survives. He also is survived by three daughters, Cynthia L., wife of Douglas Manning, of Northumberland, Tina E., wife of Eric Heim, of Shamokin, and Lisa A. Rebuck and her partner Scott Hoey, of Coburn; and a son, David I., husband of Robin (Malone) Rebuck, of Northumberland. He loved and will be missed by his seven grandchildren, Jason E. Heim, Melissa R. Barnes, Douglas P. Manning Jr., Joshua N. Manning, Anna L. Manning, Andrew D. Rebuck and Adam D. Rebuck. He welcomed all of his grandchildren’s spouses, fiancees and significant others as members of his clan, always sure to let them know “what they were in for.” His six great-grandchildren, Justin, Cloey and Conner Heim, Gavin and Carter Rebuck and Samson Barnes, all brought him joy and made him feel a little younger. He was lucky to have one sister, Vivian Duttry, of Fishers Ferry, who also survives. Dean’s extended family of cousins, nieces, nephews and in-laws will celebrate his life at family reunions and gatherings for years to come.
Dean was a Mahanoy Joint High School graduate and was forever grateful to the educators who helped him appreciate the joys of lifelong learning and to his classmates who remained so important to him throughout the years since. As a Navy Seaman, he attended tech school, where he learned the skills he would need for a career in telecommunications. He was proud to have served aboard the USS Tarawa during the Korean War, never hesitating to marvel in the recollection of all the adventures that a young Pennsylvania Dutch farm boy could have in traveling the world. For the balance of his life, he was a strong supporter of all who serve our nation.
He gained a lifelong identity as a “Bell Man” when he began a more than 30-year career with Bell Telephone of Pennsylvania and thrived through the evolution of the Bell system companies, finishing his career as a PBX Communications Systems technician; retiring from Lucent Technologies. He was proud to be a union member for his entire career. The friends he made within his work crew and at all the businesses he assisted meant he could never leave home without meeting someone he knew — something he anticipated and enjoyed endlessly. After his initial retirement, he realized he wasn’t quite ready to leave communications and became the systems specialist for Rea & Derick, eventually retiring a second time from CVS.
Dean loved to spend time with his immediate and extended family. He was a lifelong teacher to all with a yeoman’s knowledge in nature, gardening, camping, hiking, swimming, hunting, fishing, boating and so much more. He enjoyed reading and was especially fond of historical commentaries and biographies that he used as preludes to museum and battlefield visits. A talented handy-man, he enjoyed fixing and repairing things in his spare time. He taught his grandchildren to use hand tools in his basement workshop, where they built fleets of wooden boats to set sail on the waters of Plum Creek, a small stream flowing gently by his property. A child of the Depression, Dean was “green” before our nation’s first Earth Day, embracing and advocating the ideals of reduce, re-use/re-purpose or recycle. Dean worked actively to protect the environment he loved. He was scrupulously devoted to reducing waste and keeping recyclable materials out of landfills.
An avid fisherman and “fly-tyer,” he always found time to share the understanding he had gained with family and friends. He found a special joy in witnessing a novice fisherman’s first cast — whether it was a clear mountain stream, a state park lake or a farm pond, he treasured them all. Dean also participated in a variety of local hunting pursuits. He spent many days in the forests and fields, surrounded by and immersed in all of nature’s beauty. In the course of his outdoor exploits, he often collected a wide variety of seasonal nuts and berries. Dean, with the avid assistance of his descendants, spent many hours cracking the nuts. Of course, Dean often commented that they “ate up all the profits.” His beloved wife, Joan, transformed the berries into jellies and jams and used what nuts she could for homemade cookies, cakes and pies.
Dean’s Navy experiences fostered a lifelong sense of wonder about the world. He was always “up for a road trip.” He explored state and national parks across the Northeast and into Canada on camping, hiking and fishing excursions with his family. He also had grand adventures on planes, trains and automobiles, exploring the big cities of New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, New Orleans, Denver, Washington, Anchorage, San Francisco, Montreal and Toronto with family and friends. One of the few adventures he missed was never having gotten to board the flagship Niagara, the very first U.S. Navy war ship. To satisfy his dream of experiencing what it would be like on a “tall” ship, he read one of his favorite books, “Two Years Before the Mast,” on more than one occasion.
Next to his own family members, whom he valued above all, he cherished his church family. He was a member of United Lutheran Church, of Wolf’s Crossroads, Sunbury, and was a joyful steward having served in capacities from the church council to the many committees within the church. As long as they were able, Dean and Joan never missed a Thrivent Chapter service activity. He was especially fond of time invested with the Tuesday Gang to keep the facilities “ship-shape.”
Dean’s last months were made lighter by the tender and thoughtful care of all the staff that served and rotated through Station 2 at Nottingham Village. Our family has gained many brothers and sisters during this last chapter of Dean’s life.
Services will be held at Dean’s home church, United Lutheran Church at Wolf’s Crossroads, 167 Seven Points Road, Sunbury. Friends are invited to a time of visitation from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Saturday and 2 to 3 p.m. Sunday, followed by the funeral at 3 with Pastor James Rill officiating.
Interment will be held at the convenience of the family when weather permits.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the United Lutheran Church or the donor’s favorite charity.
The Stephen R. Rothermel Funeral Home, Klingerstown, has charge of the arrangements.
To sign the online guest book, visit www.srrfh.com.